OHIO, USA — In an update released Tuesday to all members of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Interim Executive Director Bob Goldring provided new information on the current state of the upcoming high school athletic seasons. The memo follows a survey sent to members of the OHSAA, the results of which is being used to help guide further decision making by the association and by the Governor's Office.
The OHSAA affirms being on track with plans to begin seasons on August 1.
The low/non-contact sports of golf, girl's tennis and volleyball are set to begin practices on that date and low/non-contact school vs. school scrimmages and regular competition are set to follow normally.
For contact sports currently defined by the OHSAA as football, soccer, field hockey and cross country, practices are also set to start on August 1. But, further guidance from the Governor's Office and Ohio Department of Health is needed as to when competition can begin. The OHSAA is hopeful that permission will be granted later in August and the seasons will begin with a normal schedule.
However, scrimmages between schools are suspended entirely and indefinitely. The OHSAA does not "anticipate that suspension changing soon" and added that there was a possibility of no scrimmages prior to regular season play being allowed at all for football, soccer and field hockey.
The memo also adds that conversations are ongoing about changing field hockey and/or cross country to the low/non-contact sports category instead.
In both cases, if the situations were to change involving contact sports scrimmages or contact classification, the OHSAA will provide further updates.
The memo goes on to stress the importance of strictly following all guidelines that will be put in place, stating:
"Our discussions with the Governor’s Office are clear . . . If we want our student-athletes to learn the lifelong lessons and receive the social, emotional and physical benefits that the privilege of participating in education based interscholastic athletics programs provide, we all have to be accountable for following all mandates and requirements. By not following the mandates and requirements, we are putting our student-athletes at risk of not only contracting and/or spreading COVID-19 but also at risk of losing the season for themselves, their families, their teammates, their schools and their communities. Mandates and requirements put into place must be followed in order for the Governor’s Office to continue to allow us to participate."
The fourth and final point on the list says that the OHSAA will hold administrators, coaches and student-athletes accountable for any acts of non-compliance.